Spring is arriving late in the northeast this year. As our local weatherman said halfway through April, “Today is tax day and Old Man Winter has filed for an extension!”
How appropriate that I have been studying the book of Ruth and the story of how this brave young woman went out to glean during the Spring barley season. Those early grains, the cheapest of the grains grown in Palestine, offer a easy to remember illustration of the entire book. In chapter 1, Naomi is like a broken stalk of barley, lying on the ground without hope or a future. In chapters 2 and 3, that dead stalk begins to revive: Naomi glimpses hope as her daughter-in-law makes contact with Boaz. And in chapter 4, that barley stalk begins to thrive and even bring forth fruit as Naomi sees Ruth give birth to a son. Hope dies. Hope revives. Hope thrives.
In John 12:24, Jesus told his disciples, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, It remains by itself alone but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
As Spring unfolds in your area of the country this year, where is your hope? Is it dying, reviving, or thriving?